Accepting a proofing job or not...
Thread poster: sivtufte

sivtufte  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:43
English to Norwegian (Bokmal)
+ ...
Aug 21, 2009


I'm in need of a second opinion here:
I'm busy as ever and get this job request for a urgent proofing job.

I've done some proofing, rather small documents tobe precise, they hardly ever ecceed 1000 words. NOW, I've been asked by the bureau to do several large documents.
They bid me 11.000 w at 70 euro a piece.
Content is, to me, unknown. Deadline has not been a subject, but all the files are mentioned to be delivered at the same day, same time and I assume they are from the same client.

Now, my doubt is this: WHAT IF the text needs a lot of corrections? Or if the content is out of my fields? - Or what should I expect to spend of time with this?
Usually I'm sent a doc to look at and, then decide, now they urge me to accept or let go?
I imagine I'll need a couple of days at least, to first read, correct and then check again.

Just sitting here asking this eats of my time and I feel it's good money - but also rushes my schedule to a steaming point...

What would you do? Not knowing the content? I'm full for the weekend as it is!


Local time: 17:43
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

I think you have the answer Aug 21, 2009

sivtufte wrote:
I'm full for the weekend as it is!

But I admit I'm bemused by:

They bid me 11.000 w at 70 euro a piece.

But you can't go faster and do more. If you're fully booked, you're fully booked.

Best of luck,



Miroslav Jeftic  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:43
English to Serbian
+ ...
Hm Aug 21, 2009

Did I understand ok, 11000 words for 70€? Even in my language pair that is very low; I wouldn't bother with it. Or maybe I misread your post?icon_smile.gif


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:43
Member (2007)
+ ...
Never, never, never ... Aug 21, 2009

accept a proofing job without seeing at least a representative sample of the text, preferably all of it. What if it's been translated by a machine? What it it's been translated by a non-native speaker who has no idea of tenses or word order in the target language? On top of that, it's you who decides on a price, not them - does your local garage let you tell them how much you are prepared to pay for a new exhaust?

(edited for typo)

[Edited at 2009-08-21 20:08 GMT]


Armorel Young  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:43
German to English
What's your hourly rate Aug 21, 2009

I agree with Sheila - proofreading comes in all shapes and sizes; it's essential to know what it's going to be like before you take it on.

That aside, though, you need to consider this in terms of your normal hourly rate. I'm guessing that 70 euros represents something like 2 to 3 hours of your time. Could you even read 11,000 words in that time, let alone correct them?

I would have thought that for even the most straightforward proofreading job a rate of around EUR 0.03/word would be an absolute minimum - that would make a minimum of EUR 330 for the job, not the 70 you're being offered. And that's assuming it is good quality stuff, which is by no means certain.

As others have said, this looks like something not to touch with a bargepole.


sivtufte  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:43
English to Norwegian (Bokmal)
+ ...
Thank you all :) Aug 21, 2009

I'm a bit stressed now, they've sent me work on a regular basis, fairly good work too, and I hate being pushed when I'm loaded... Still they also know I hate to reject them. The freelancers curse I guess.

You are of course right, when not knowing anything of the content it's probably a bad deal.

I appreciate very much your replies, and thank you againicon_smile.gif
Time to finish this job and rather avoid stressing for the next!icon_smile.gif

Have a nice weekend all!


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:43
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Reject the job Aug 22, 2009

sivtufte wrote:
Just sitting here asking this eats of my time and I feel it's good money - but also rushes my schedule to a steaming point...

What would you do? Not knowing the content? I'm full for the weekend as it is!

First I would never accept a bigger proofreading job without first having a look at the translation. You need to know how much it will take and the best way is looking at the text.

And second, it is quite apparent that you have plenty of other work you prefer to do, so it is as simple as saying that you are too busy to accept the job. Being professional sometimes means being able to say no.


Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:43
Spanish to English
I used to hate to say no Aug 22, 2009

I used to hate to say no until I realised that accepting everything I was offered was affecting the quality of the translations I was handing in. Agencies, it turns out, appreciate the fact that you are responsable and will not accept than you can reasonably do. Every day all the time, translations all over the world are refusing jobs because they are up to their eyes in work and agencies live with that.

I also agree that the rate you are being offered is extraordinarily low, but that is another issue.


Celine H  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:43
English to French
+ ...
I agree with what everyone said and... Aug 22, 2009

I agree that 70€ for 11,000 words sounds very low (even for me, a young translator with 2 yrs of experience)
I also agree that if your week-end is already saturated you must say no to further offers unless the deadline can be postponed.
Some agencies I work with offer me an hourly rate for proofing jobs. It has the advantage that if the translation's quality is very low and its proof-reading is too time-consuming for the number of source words, as long as you can prove the bad quality, you can be paid for the work you do.
However, it happens that the client is not willing to pay more than a certain number of hours, in which case, you have to prioritise the changes you make (typically forget about style and punctuation issues and focus on the meaning and omissions).
In my case though, even if I have to proof-read a document and the agency grants me a source word rate, they also indicate how much time I should spend on it.
My advice in your case would be to spend as little time as possible if you decide to accept the job. However, I don’t mean that you should. Agencies sometimes push available translators because they struggle to find someone, but if you’re too busy, you’re too busy. They should not decide to stop working with you for that.
Good luck

[Edited at 2009-08-22 09:26 GMT]


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Accepting a proofing job or not...

Advanced search

BaccS – Business Accounting Software
Modern desktop project management for freelance translators

BaccS makes it easy for translators to manage their projects, schedule tasks, create invoices, and view highly customizable reports. User-friendly, integration, community-driven development – a few reasons BaccS is trusted by translators!

More info »
PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »

Your current localization setting


Select a language

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search